Memphis Tigers vs Wake Forest Demon Deacons Prediction

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This Saturday's Birmingham Bowl opened at -4.5 favoring Memphis.  Some books had moved to -3.5 but most were sitting on -3. 


Our Observation

Wake Forest was seeing better than 70% of the early action as a +3.5 dog.  The line had climbed to -5 back on December 12. 

Sagarin suggests the line should be Memphis -2.5.


Forget the winner, Phil Steele of ESPN says "Go with the OVER here".  That number had fallen to 73.

Memphis has an explosive offense, as running back Darrell Henderson averaged an incredible 8.9 yards per carry; he won't be playing in this game, though, as he declared for the NFL draft and opted to sit out this bowl game. The Tigers still have Patrick Taylor and Tony Pollard, who combine for 1,455 yards rushing and 20 touchdowns. Memphis quarterback Brady White threw for 3,125 yards with a 25-8 TD-INT ratio. On the opposite side of the ball, though, Memphis has my No. 108-rated defense. Wake has an explosive offense that topped 500 yards five times this year, including dynamic slot receiver Greg Dortch.

The Demon Deacon defense allowed foes 64 yards per game more than they averaged the rest of the season, which is No. 114 in the country. Last year Wake won their bowl against Texas A&M 55-52, and that was in regulation. Even without Henderson, this one should be a high-scoring affair.

Standout Trends

The OVER is 10-1 in Tigers last 11 non-conference games.

The OVER is 10-1 in Tigers last 11 games after accumulating more than 450 total yards in their previous game.

The OVER is 5-1 in Demon Deacons last 6 non-conference games.

The Birmingham Bowl

The Birmingham Bowl is a post-season NCAA-sanctioned Division I FBS college football bowl game played annually since 2006 at the 71,594-seat Legion Field in Birmingham, Alabama. ESPN Regional Television owns and manages the bowl's operations, sponsorships and marketing, including broadcast of the game on ESPN. It features a nearly $2 million payout.

- Don Shapiro,

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